Gut health and mental health

Research has lead to a richer understanding of the role the gut microbiome plays in mental health, including anxiety and depression.

Recent studies have linked a number of mental and developmental disorders to the gut microbiome. As well as having altered gut microbiomes, individuals with these conditions may also experience gut problems such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome. This could have significant implications for the treatment of mental illness.

Explore the research articles listed below to learn more about these insights and uncover further links between the gut microbiome and mental health disorders.

Science digests and blogs

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Plant-rich diets may help prevent depression – new evidence

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How bacteria are changing your mood

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How fibre and gut bacteria reverse stress damage

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Probiotics for bipolar disorder mania

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How microbes may influence our behaviour

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Mental health may depend on creatures in the gut

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How gut bacteria may affect anxiety

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Gut microbiota may influence mood and behavior, study finds

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Gut bacteria spotted eating brain chemicals for the first time

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Linking mental health and the gut microbiome

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Gut feeling: how your microbiota affects your mood, sleep and stress levels

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Probiotic found in yogurt can reverse depression symptoms


Breit, S. et al.
Vagus nerve as modulator of the brain-gut axis in psychiatric and inflammatory disorders.
Frontiers in Psychiatry 9, 44 (2018). Doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00044

Clapp, M., Aurora, N., Herrera, L., Bhatia, M., Wilen, E., & Wakefield, S.
Gut microbiota's effect on mental health: The gut-brain axis.
Clinics and practice, 7(987): 131-136. (2017) . Doi: 10.4081/cp.2017.987

Cryan J.F. and Dinan T.G.
Decoding the role of the microbiome on amygdala function and social behaviour.
Neuropsychopharmacology 44(1): 233-234. (2018). Doi: 10.1038/s41386-018-0233-3

Dickerson, F., et al.
Adjunctive probiotic microorganisms to prevent rehospitalization in patients with acute mania: a randomized controlled trial.
Bipolar Disorders 20(7): 614-621. (2018). Doi: 10.1111/bdi.12652

Foster, J. A., Lyte, M., Meyer, E. & Cryan, J. F.
Gut microbiota and brain function: an evolving field in neuroscience.
Int. J. Neuropsychopharmacol. 19, 5 (2016). Doi: 10.1093/ijnp/pyv114

Foster, J. A. & McVey Neufeld, K.-A..
Gut–brain axis: how the microbiome influences anxiety and depression.
Trends Neurosci. 36(5): 305-312. (2013). Doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2013.01.005

Kelly, J. et al.
Breaking down the barriers: the gut microbiome, intestinal permeability and stress-related psychiatric disorders.
Front. Cell. Neurosci. 9, 392 (2015). Doi: 10.3389/fncel.2015.00392

Kennedy P.J., Cryan J.F., Dinan T.G., and Clarke G.
Kynurenine pathway metabolism and the microbiota-gut-brain axis.
Neuropharmacology. 112(Pt B): 399-412. (2017). Doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2016.07.002

Lach, G., Schellekens, H., Dinan, T.G., and Cryan, J.F.
Anxiety, depression, and the microbiome: a role for gut peptides.
Neurotherapeutics 15(1): 36-59. (2018). Doi: 10.1007/s13311-017-0585-0

O’Mahony, S. M., Clarke, G., Borre, Y. E., Dinan, T. G. & Cryan, J. F.
Serotonin, tryptophan metabolism and the brain-gut-microbiome axis.
Behav. Brain Res. 277: 32-48. (2015). Doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2014.07.027

Rogers, G. B. et al.
From gut dysbiosis to altered brain function and mental illness: mechanisms and pathways.
Mol. Psychiatry 21: 738-748. (2016). Doi: 10.1038/mp.2016.50

Strandwitz, P.
Neurotransmitter modulation by the gut microbiota.
Brain Research 1693(B): 128-133. (2018). Doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2018.03.015